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Which American Athletic Conference Teams Got Better Throughout the Season?

We take a look at teams' quarterly performance, as measured by Football Outsiders' S/P+ ratings, to see if there are any trends to give us insight about next season.

Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports

Taking a look at a team's final record never really tells you anything close to the whole story. We use Bill C.'s rankings, broken down by quarter season, to see if we can learn anything about the year that's to come.

So this ought to be interesting, huh? What say we take a gander at the columns and rows and...

AACPERF

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait a minute. Look there at the very bottom. Good news, Mustangs fans. The boys from Southern Methodist actually got measurably better as the season went along! I'm not sure you want to put too much stock into a team that improved from "vehicular manslaughter" to "DUI," but as I always say, progress is progress. And they did eventually improve enough to win a game over...

Oh, hello there UConn. Rough year for Bob Diaco and his bipolar team. Most of that late season peak you see is probably wrapped up in the win over Central Florida, and the close road loss to East Carolina right before it. Too bad they had to follow it up with that hideous homestretch where Cincinnati and Memphis outscored them by 72 and then, again, SMU beat them. At home.

Tulsa's season was rather similar to the trajectory SMU took, a season-long improvement that was always a touch ahead of the Mustang's pace. It seems a little unbelievable juxtaposed against the Golden Hurricane managing to beat nobody but SMU after their opening week victory over Tulane, but they did finish the season by dropping 60 points on Houston and East Carolina.

Tulane did the opposite, starting off strong by almost defeating Tulsa, not getting embarrassed by Georgia Tech, and so on. But all that vanished in a late season spiral that saw a worthwhile victory on the road at Houston get wrapped up in four losses by a combined score of 120-30. Same for South Florida, who played the best AAC teams at the end of the season... and showed why they weren't one of them.

Cincinnati and Memphis mirrored each other, with a giant blip in their second quarter performance. I'm not sure I understand how Memphis' performance in that time frame is worse, since for Memphis that represents their close loss to Houston and a strong road outing against Ole Miss sandwiched around destroying Cinci, who also got destroyed by Ohio State and Miami.

Temple started strong and faded late, although you can't say too many bad things about a 6-6 team who lost three of those by a combined 18 points. East Carolina did great... except for that giant crater in the middle of the schedule where they beat South Florida and UConn by a total of 21 points and then couldn't remember how to play football long enough to beat either Temple or Cinci.

2015 will be a year of big changes for the conference, what with Navy joining, the shift to divisions, and some top-shelf offensive talent disappearing. It's possible enough will change that these trends may mean nothing by August!